Source: New York Post
Amber Athey reports: Facebook founder and CEO Mark Zuckerberg has a simple solution for most of the problems presented to him by Congress: “more AI tools.”
Zuckerberg repeatedly stressed Facebook’s growing focus on artificial intelligence during his testimony Read the rest of this entry »
During Mark Zuckerberg’s appearance before two Congressional committees, it was unclear whether the Facebook CEO knew the answer to ANYTHING. Don’t worry though, his ‘team’ will be sure to follow-up.
Source: New York Post
The movie isn’t a hit piece, but the history it tells is infuriating.
Kyle Smith writes: Chappaquiddick must be counted one of the great untold stories in American political history: The average citizen may be vaguely aware of what happened but probably has little notion of just how contemptible was the behavior of Senator Ted Kennedy. Mainstream book publishers and Hollywood have mostly steered clear of the subject for 48 years.
“If Chappaquiddick had been released in 1970, it would have ended Kennedy’s political career.”
Chappaquiddick the movie fills in an important gap, and if it had been released in 1970, it would have ended Kennedy’s political career. (It was only a few weeks ago that a sitting senator resigned over far less disturbing behavior than Kennedy’s.) Yet this potent and penetrating film is not merely an attack piece. It’s more than fair to Kennedy in its hesitance to depict him as drunk on the night in question, and it also pictures him repeatedly diving into the pond on Chappaquiddick Island, trying to rescue his brother Bobby’s former aide Mary Jo Kopechne (Kate Mara). He may or may not have made such rescue attempts. Moreover, as directed by John Curran (The Painted Veil), the film is suffused with lament that a man in Kennedy’s position could have been so much more than he was. Yet Ted, the last and least of four brothers, was shoved into a role for which he simply lacked the character. That the other three were dynamic leaders who died violently while he alone lived on to become the Senate’s Jabba the Hutt is perhaps the most dizzying chapter of the century-long Kennedy epic. Read the rest of this entry »
J.W. McCormack writes: The planet has been knocked off its elliptical orbit and overheats as it hurtles toward the sun; the night ceases to exist, oil paintings melt, the sidewalks in New York are hot enough to fry an egg on, and the weather forecast is “more of the same, only hotter.” Despite the unbearable day-to-reality of constant sweat, the total collapse of order and decency, and, above all, the scarcity of water, Norma can’t shake the feeling that one day she’ll wake up and find that this has all been a dream. And she’s right. Because the world isn’t drifting toward the sun at all, it’s drifting away from it, and the paralytic cold has put Norma into a fever dream.
[Watch how many times J.W. McCormack packs this discussion of Twilight Zone history with unrelated partisan political whining, pro-FDR, anti-GOP revisionist history, and Paul Krugmanesque drooling, navel gazing, and various unrelated anti-Trump nonsense. Is this really about the Twilight Zone? Or just another Op-Ed column?]
This is “The Midnight Sun,” my favorite episode of The Twilight Zone, and one that has come to seem grimly familiar. I also wake up adrift, in a desperate and unfamiliar reality, wondering if the last year in America has been a dream—I too expect catastrophe, but it’s impossible to know from which direction it will come, whether I am right to trust my senses or if I’m merely sleepwalking while the actual danger becomes ever-more present. One thing I do know is that I’m not alone: since the election of Donald Trump, it’s become commonplace to compare the new normal to living in the Twilight Zone, as Paul Krugman did in a 2017 New York Times op-ed titled “Living in the Trump Zone,” in which he compared the President to the all-powerful child who terrorizes his Ohio hometown in “It’s a Good Life,” policing their thoughts and arbitrarily striking out at the adults. But these comparisons do The Twilight Zone a disservice. The show’s articulate underlying philosophy was never that life is topsy-turvy, things are horribly wrong, and misrule will carry the day—it is instead a belief in a cosmic order, of social justice and a benevolent irony that, in the end, will wake you from your slumber and deliver you unto the truth.
The Twilight Zone has dwelt in the public imagination, since its cancellation in 1964, as a synecdoche for the kind of neat-twist ending exemplified by “To Serve Man” (it’s a cookbook), “The After Hours” (surprise, you’re a mannequin), and “The Eye of the Beholder” (everyone has a pig-face but you). It’s probably impossible to feel the original impact of each show-stopping revelation, as the twist ending has long since been institutionalized, clichéd, and abused in everything from the 1995 film The Usual Suspects to Twilight Zone-style anthology series like Black Mirror.Rewatching these episodes with the benefit of Steven Jay Rubin’s new 429-page book, The Twilight Zone Encyclopedia, (a bathroom book if ever I saw one), the punchlines are actually the least of the show’s enduring hold over the imagination; rather its creator Rod Serling’s rejoinders to the prevalent anti-Communist panic that gripped the decade: stories of witch-hunting paranoia tend to end badly for everyone, as in “The Monsters Are Due on Maple Street,” in which the population of a town turns on each other in a panic to ferret out the alien among them, or in “Will the Real Martian Please Stand Up?” which relocates the premise to a diner in which the passengers of a bus are temporarily stranded and subject to interrogation by a pair of state troopers.
The show’s most prevalent themes are probably best distilled as “you are not what you took yourself to be,” “you are not where you thought you were,” and “beneath the façade of mundane American society lurks a cavalcade of monsters, clones, and robots.” Serling had served as a paratrooper in the Philippines in 1945 and returned with PTSD; he and his eventual audience were indeed caught between the familiar past and an unknown future.
They stood dazed in a no-longer-recognizable world, flooded with strange new technologies, vastly expansionist corporate or federal jurisdictions, and once-unfathomable ideologies. The culture was shifting from New Deal egalitarianism to the exclusionary persecution and vigilantism of McCarthyism, the “southern strategy” of Goldwater and Nixon, and the Cold War-era emphasis on mandatory civilian conformity, reinforced across the board in schools and the media. Read the rest of this entry »
Johnny Oleksinski When Tina Fey’s film “Mean Girls” came out in 2004, the comedy was lauded as a silly, satirical excoriation of modern high-school life and its cliques, cafeteria antics and materialism. “Mean Girls” was a “Clueless” for the millennial age. And it was so fetch.
Fast forward to 2018. “Mean Girls” is about to begin a new life as a Broadway musicalin March. But some Broadway watchers believe the subject matter is too mean for these kinder, gentler times.
“It just might not be the moment for ‘Mean Girls,’ ” one Broadway insider told me on the condition of anonymity. “It might feel stale and tone-deaf to the critics. And while this is something that could be critic-proof, maybe not.”
The fear of offending audiences isn’t limited to musicals about bratty teens. In this oversensitive era, TV shows, Oscar-worthy movies and pop music are all under pressure to be as nice as Betty Crocker. For millennia the best art has offended, tantalized, frightened, riled up and, of course, been life-affirming. But today the American public, looking more than ever like Soviet Russia, has just one rule for entertainers: Don’t rock the boat.
During last Sunday’s Super Bowl halftime show, singer Justin Timberlake barely rocked his hips. The former boybander is responsible for the most famous sex stunt in the history of the event — Janet Jackson’s 2004 nipple-baring “wardrobe malfunction.” Read the rest of this entry »
Weinstein Loses $1.4 Million on Hamptons Estate.
Disgraced producer Harvey Weinstein settled on a $10 million sale price for a Hamptons mansion he bought three years ago for $11.4 million
The hits just keep coming for publicly pilloried and legally embattled film and television super-producer Harvey Weinstein and his red carpet gown designer soon-to-be-ex-wife Georgina Chapman who took a staggering $1.4 million loss, not counting carrying costs, improvement expenses and real estate fees, on the sale of a bay front mansion in the sleepy Hamptons community of Amagansett, New York.
The May-December former couple, he’s nearly 25 years her senior, settled on a sale price of $10 million for the estate they purchased in June 2014 for $11.4 million from nine-time Tony winning Broadway producer Roy Furman (“Spamalot,” “The Book of Mormon” and the recent revival of “Hello, Dolly”). Read the rest of this entry »
A good day for you, my friend pic.twitter.com/wWQQjvqIyY
— Ben Shapiro (@benshapiro) January 9, 2018
“Fox News will not be hiring Steve Bannon” — Fox News Spokesperson https://t.co/o8pG02w7qc
— Jon Levine (@LevineJonathan) January 9, 2018
Source: Covers | New York Post
Tyler McCarthy reports: Former “Last Comic Standing” winner Iliza Shlesinger is reportedly being sued after hosting a comedy show in Los Angeles that didn’t allow men to attend. Now, she’s facing rhetoric likening one man’s incident to the Civil Rights movement.
The Hollywood Reporter obtained legal documents in which a man named George St. George alleges he purchased two tickets to the comedian’s Nov. 13 show, titled “Girls Night In WIth Iliza — No Boys Allowed.” When he arrived to pick them up at will call, he was told that he would have to sit in the back of the theater because of his gender. He and a friend went to get food and, when they returned, were told that Shlesinger and the theater had decided that no men would be admitted to the show, and they were offered a refund for their ticket.
“Girls’ Night In is a hybrid stand up show and interactive discussion between Iliza and the women in the audience aimed at giving women a place to vent in a supportive, fun and inclusive environment,” the event’s description reads. “She invites women of all walks of life to come, laugh with her and at her and be ready to share and feel safe for an awesome night of comedy and love.” Read the rest of this entry »
Bruce Haring reports: Actress Rose Marie, whose trademark hair bow is in the Smithsonian and who had a long career spanning TV, Broadway, films, nightclubs and as a Hollywood Square, has died. She was 94 and passed away in Van Nuys, CA.
She was best known for her role as comedy writer Sally Rogers on TV’s The Dick Van Dyke Show, trading barbs with the boys club in quick-witted fashion after joining the show in 1961. After five seasons, she moved on to The Doris Day Show.
She received a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame in October of 2001, later releasing a best-selling memoir, Hold the Roses, in 2006.
Born Rose Marie Mazzetta on Aug. 15, 1923, the same day when Broadway musical Rose-Marie opened, she started her career at age 3 by winning an amateur talent show as Baby Rose Marie.
She later segued to radio, becoming a popular guest star and eventually getting her own program on NBC. She also was a recording artist for Mercury Records. The popularity led her to a film career, where she appeared in some of the earliest talkies, including the 1929 short Baby Rose Marie the Child Wonder.
Marie appeared in several Paramount pictures, including International House and Big Broadcast of 1935.
An inside look at the single largest public outreach program for the Department of Defense — and the Pentagon’s most elaborate propaganda operation.
But the number printed in the newspaper in December 1955 had a digit wrong — and was instead the direct line into the secret military nerve center in Colorado Springs, Colo., where the Pentagon was on the lookout to prevent nuclear war. The Air Force officer and World War II fighter pilot who took the first call that day for Father Christmas thought it was a crank — and Col. Harry Shoup sternly said so.
“The little kid started crying,” Shoup’s daughter, Terri Van Keuren, recalled in an interview. “So Dad went into his ‘Ho ho ho’ and got the kid’s list.”
Sixty-two years later, the Continental Air Defense Command is now the North American Aerospace Defense Command, and its interactive NORAD Tracks Santa has become the largest single public outreach program for the Defense Department. It’s also, you might say, the Pentagon’s most elaborate propaganda operation.
On Christmas Eve, while monitoring the heavens for North Korean missile launches or Russian military aircraft flying too close to the U.S. or Canada, NORAD will also be reporting the progress of Santa and his reindeer as they travel from the North Pole around the world delivering presents and holiday cheer. It will correlate the jolly elf’s journey with its network of 47 radar stations, spy satellites in “geosynchronous” orbit 22,300 miles above the earth, fighter jets and a suite of special high-tech “SantaCams.” Or so the publicity stunt’s plan goes.
“The moment our radar tells us that Santa has lifted off, we begin to use the same satellites that we use in providing warning of possible missile launches aimed at North America,” says NORAD’s detailed 14-page internal handbook for the operation, which is replete with Santa stats (first flight believed to be Dec. 24, 343 A.D.) and even talking points for that uncomfortable question many parents also confront: “Is there a Santa Claus?”
It’s all part of the ornamented script that more than 1,500 volunteers — including the four-star general in charge of defending North America — are using to field an anticipated 150,000 calls and an avalanche of emails and social media posts (2 million Facebook followers so far) who are all seeking to locate Ole St. Nick on his starlight odyssey.
“As soon as you’re hanging up there’s another kid wanting to talk to you,” Preston Schlachter, NORAD’s Track Santa program manager and its director of community outreach, said of the 23-hour period leading up to Christmas when volunteers work in two-hour shifts, backed up by dozens of sponsors ranging from Microsoft to the National Defense Industrial Association, Taco Bell and the local Amy’s Donuts in Colorado Springs.
In the past, VIPs like former first lady Michelle Obama have also taken a turn at the phones.
“It is the best two hours you’ll ever experience,” Schlachter added in an interview. “You are getting these calls from all over the world. One of the coolest things I like about the program is the multi-generational aspect of it. We are seeing feedback on social media, people who call in and tell us they tracked Santa when they were kids and they’ve introduced it to their kids and now they’re introducing it to their grandkids.” Read the rest of this entry »
Did an episode of ‘The Simpsons’ from 19 years ago predict the future? It shows the entrance to 20th Century Fox’s movie studios with fine print below the logo that reads “A Division Of Walt Disney Company.” The episode is coming to light after Disney purchased 21st Century Fox for $52.4 billion Thursday morning. The deal includes Fox’s 39 percent stake in satellite broadcaster Sky and the 20th Century Fox film studio, Disney announced. It’s not the first time the show has had a crystal ball.
Source: New York Post
‘Woke Barbie’ Torches Mattel Profits, Company Anticipates ‘Margin Deterioration’ During Disappointing Christmas HolidayPosted: December 13, 2017
Chloe Aiello reports: Mattel anticipates “gross margin deterioration,” during what is typically the biggest shopping season of the year.
Struggling to stay afloat, Mattel released updated full year and fourth quarter guidance, anticipating a disappointing holiday season. The toy maker predicts “gross margin deterioration,” during what is typically the biggest shopping season of the year.
“The unfavorable year-over-year gross margin experienced during the first nine months of 2017 is expected to continue throughout the fourth quarter of 2017, as a result of unfavorable product mix, higher freight and logistics expense, and lower fixed cost absorption,” the company said in a filing with the Securities and Exchange Commission. “In addition, continued negative trends in top line performance for the balance of the year could result in additional gross margin deterioration as a result of higher inventory write-downs and discounts offered to clear inventory.”
Mattel said it expects its fourth quarter operating income margin to be significantly lower year-over-year, and anticipates 2017 full-year gross sales will decline by the mid-to-high single digits compared to 2016.
The revised guidance hints at worsening conditions within Mattel, which has watched its margins suffer for years from cheaper imports, competition from big box retailers and the impact of technology on toys.
“Based on preliminary quarter-to-date data for the fourth quarter, Mattel currently anticipates its gross sales during the fourth quarter of 2017 will continue to be negatively impacted by key retail partners moving toward tighter inventory management and by challenges in the Toy Box and certain under performing brands,” Mattel said in the filing. Read the rest of this entry »
Meet Walter Kolosky, author of “The Mahavishnu Orchestra Picture Book.” Walter has written three books about the Mahavishnu Orchestra and we’ discuss the history of John McLaughlin’s group.
To buy the iBook go to https://itunes.apple.com/us/book/maha…
To buy the Kindle Book go to https://www.amazon.com/Mahavishnu-Orc…
Jonathan David Haidt (born October 19, 1963) is an American social psychologist and Professor of Ethical Leadership at New York University’s Stern School of Business. His academic specialization is the psychology of morality and the moral emotions. Haidt is the author of two books: The Happiness Hypothesis: Finding Modern Truth in Ancient Wisdom (2006) and The Righteous Mind: Why Good People are Divided by Politics and Religion (2012). Read the rest of this entry »
Wonder Woman bails out a battle-fatigued Batman and Superman in Warner Bros.’ latest DC Comics-derived extravaganza.
Todd McCarthy writes: The increasingly turgid tales of Batman and Superman — joined, unfortunately for her, by Wonder Woman — trudge along to ever-diminishing returns in Justice League. Garishly unattractive to look at and lacking the spirit that made Wonder Woman, which came out five months ago, the most engaging of Warner Bros.’ DC Comics-derived extravaganzas to date, this hodgepodge throws a bunch of superheroes into a mix that neither congeals nor particularly makes you want to see more of them in future. Plainly put, it’s simply not fun. Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice grossed $872.7 million worldwide last year, apparently about enough to justify its existence, and the significant presence of Gal Gadot as Wonder Woman in this one might boost its returns a bit higher than that.
Fatigue, repetition and a laborious approach to exposition are the keynotes of this affair, which is also notable for how Ben Affleck, donning the bat suit for the second time, looks like he’d rather be almost anywhere else but here; his eyes and body language make it clear that he’s just not into it. For his part, Henry Cavill’s Superman, left for dead and buried in 2016’s Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice (we see the grave of Clark Joseph Kent more than once), isn’t resurrected until the second half, and it takes considerably more time for him to snap into action.
That leaves things mostly in the capable hands of Wonder Woman, who’s just as kick-ass as she was this summer but in a less imaginative, one-note way. The good news is that Jesse Eisenberg’s embarrassingly misguided Lex Luthor from the previous outing is nowhere to be seen.
So what are we left with here? With all the characters that need to be introduced, the virtually humor-free script by Chris Terrio and Joss Whedon (who was brought on to complete directing duties after Zack Snyder had to leave for family reasons) less resembles deft narrative scene-setting than it does the work of a bored casino dealer rotely distributing cards around a table. Everyone is very downcast in the wake of Superman’s unimaginable fate and there’s naturally a new villain threatening to bring the world to an end, a big meanie named Steppenwolf (voiced by Ciaran Hinds). So Bruce Wayne, with Diana Prince’s assistance, must put together a new team to save the world yet again. Read the rest of this entry »
” …people are wondering how Harvey can live with himself after all he’s done — the years of sexually predatory behavior. The answer is: with the help of a lot of drugs.”
As revealed exclusively on “Page Six TV” Thursday, Weinstein was photographed opening a sturdy silver case filled with an astonishing amount of prescription pill bottles and medications as he sat in first class on a plane at New York’s John F. Kennedy International Airport in December last year before his sexual harassment scandal broke — in full view of other passengers and the flight crew.
The source, who gave the picture exclusively to Page Six, said, “Many people are wondering how Harvey can live with himself after all he’s done — the years of sexually predatory behavior. The answer is: with the help of a lot of drugs.”
The source said that when another passenger on the plane who recognized Weinstein asked about his impressive pharmaceutical stash, Weinstein explained, “Oh, I’ve got a cold.”
A different source familiar with Weinstein over the years told us, “He always had that briefcase of drugs. He carries his whole medicine cabinet with him — even stuff he isn’t taking at the time.” Read the rest of this entry »
Director James Toback told women that he could put them in movies. But then, they say, he sexually harassed them.
Glenn Whipp reports: He prowled the streets of Manhattan looking for attractive young women, usually in their early 20s, sometimes college students, on occasion a high schooler. He approached them in Central Park, standing in line at a bank or drug store or at a copy center while they worked on their resumes.
His opening line had a few variations. One went: “My name’s James Toback. I’m a movie director. Have you ever seen ‘Black and White’ or ‘Two Girls and a Guy’?”
Probably not. So he’d start to drop names. He had an Oscar nomination for writing the Warren Beatty movie “Bugsy.” He directed Robert Downey Jr., in three movies. The actor, Toback claimed, was a close friend; he had “invented him.” If you didn’t believe him, he would pull out a business card or an article that had been written about him to prove he had some juice in Hollywood. That he could make you a star.
But first, he’d need to get to know you. Intimately. Trust him, he’d say. It’s all part of his process.
Then, in a hotel room, a movie trailer, a public park, meetings framed as interviews or auditions quickly turned sexual, according to 38 women who, in separate interviews told the Los Angeles Times of similar encounters they had with Toback.
During these meetings, many of the women said, Toback boasted of sexual conquests with the famous and then asked humiliating personal questions. How often do you masturbate? How much pubic hair do you have? He’d tell them, they said, that he couldn’t properly function unless he “jerked off” several times a day. And then he’d dry-hump them or masturbate in front of them, ejaculating into his pants or onto their bodies and then walk away. Meeting over.
The women’s accounts portray James Toback as a man who, for decades, sexually harassed women he hired, women looking for work and women he just saw on the street. The vast majority of these women — 31 of the 38 interviewed — spoke on the record. The Times also interviewed people that the women informed of the incidents when they occurred.
As is often the case, none of them contacted the police at the time. When contacted by The Times, Toback denied the allegations, saying that he had never met any of these women or, if he did, it “was for five minutes and have no recollection.” He also repeatedly claimed that for the last 22 years, it had been “biologically impossible” for him to engage in the behavior described by the women in this story, saying he had diabetes and a heart condition that required medication. Toback declined to offer further details.
The women interviewed during The Times’ investigation offered accounts that differed from Toback’s recollections.
“The way he presented it, it was like, ‘This is how things are done,’” actress Adrienne LaValley said of a 2008 hotel room encounter that ended with Toback trying to rub his crotch against her leg. When she recoiled, he stood up and ejaculated in his pants. “I felt like a prostitute, an utter disappointment to myself, my parents, my friends. And I deserved not to tell anyone.”
“In a weird sense, I thought, ‘This is a test of whether I’m a real artist and serious about acting,’” remembered Starr Rinaldi, who was an aspiring actress when Toback approached her in Central Park about 15 years ago. Read the rest of this entry »
Judgment Day: Harvey Weinstein Scandal
Posted: October 18, 2017
Could Finally Probably Won’t Change Hollywood’s Culture of Secrecy
Brent Lang and Elizabeth Wagmeister report: Harvey Weinstein’s implosion has been cathartic for Lauren Sivan, one of the dozens of women who have come forward in recent days alleging that the once-celebrated mogul was a serial sexual harasser and abuser. It’s a moment of justice and public condemnation that seemed all but impossible to imagine mere weeks ago when Weinstein enjoyed a position as one of the most powerful figures in media, a skilled operator whose connections stretched from Capitol Hill to Wall Street and whose sense of entitlement knew no bounds.
“You reap what you sow,” says Sivan. “I know that he believed for years that he was untouchable, and a lot of people helped him be untouchable.”Weinstein’s precipitous fall has been stunning, if not a long time coming. He’s been fired from his own company, ostracized by his longtime friends and collaborators in the entertainment industry, transformed from power player to butt of late-night talk-show jokes, ditched by his wife and abandoned by the Democratic political leaders who once coveted his endorsement. The Weinstein Co. is weighing a sale to Colony Capital.
Along with Bill Cosby, Roger Ailes, Bill O’Reilly and L.A. Reid, Weinstein is a sign that the old methods that stars and top executives used to cover up their sins isn’t working. Their praetorian guards of lawyers and spin-makers, their penchant for paying hush money to victims and making them sign draconian nondisclosure agreements that prevent them from going public, can no longer buy silence.
Hollywood’s veil of secrecy has been pierced, and such complicity and enabling may no longer be tolerated in a company town that has long protected its own.
“We are shining a bright light on aggressors and powerful offenders as an example to every other employee out there,” says TV commentator Wendy Walsh, one of O’Reilly’s accusers.
As the chorus of accusers grows daily and as Weinstein finds himself isolated and abandoned by the A-list stars and directors he once claimed as friends, the conversation in Hollywood is pointing to a major shift. The hope in the industry is that the alleged abhorrent behavior by Weinstein and the other perpetrators will trigger some genuine soul-searching across the entertainment business and beyond.
Instead of simply inspiring big names in the industry to release anodyne statements that are light on substance and heavy on synonyms for deplorable, there’s an urge to have a deeper conversation about how to improve the climate and culture in Hollywood so whistle-blowers are supported and predators aren’t rewarded with corner offices, private jets and a license to operate with impunity. Read the rest of this entry »